Wow. I last wrote for the website in late fall. Now late winter and where has the time gone? The old saying “Time marches on” is true of course. Soon we will be out tapping. As I wrote last year “COVID or NO, the sap will flow.”
In fact, sap ran yesterday and today as the temperatures were above 40 degrees. History on this website will tell you why the old man has not tapped yet! Clue: Sap ran in October, November December, and January when the temps were above freezing. So, as we get ready for another production season, we will tap late February and early March when the sap is the sweetest and it is time!
You will notice some changes on the website and in social media posts. It is transition time at Mapletree Farm. Sure, I am still at the sugarhouse most every day and will continue. Some of my helpers have moved on and I understand. Life makes all of us make certain decisions. Mine, after Meg’s passing has been to continue as she would have wished. 2021 was a fantastic year but still very difficult. I’ve met new friends, been comforted by old friends, and still love packaging our maple syrup, making maple cream, maple nuts and occasionally maple cotton candy. Your visits and calls to the sugarhouse make my day- every day. Thank you.
I am trying to transition to a takeover of MTF. At 81, I simply cannot do all the work. I am OK and MTF keeps me going as a place I feel I am needed. What bothers me is my experience and knowledge may be wasted. I am old but there are experiences and tricks to be passed on. The tech generation does not understand. Is there an apprentice out there somewhere?
“If you don’t like New England Weather, wait a minute.” So, the last two weeks in January, Concord, NH woke up to below zero temperatures with wind chill factors even lower. Then the first few days of February we had 40-degree temps or higher. My lawyer friends will appreciate this answer: “It all depends.” But in maple perhaps not. This is experience writing and the cold weather will surely help. The more frost around the roots of our maple trees the better. That will extend our season and prevent an earlier snow melt. YEA!!!!! For many years I used to say, “our maple syrup production season was two to six weeks” and then we had a 13-day season! The old man was wrong! The 13-day production season followed a snowless winter with little frost in the ground. Sure, the sap ran, and it will run every year, but there was no snow and little frost to give us an average season. New England Weather!!! So, the recent cold weather should help but check with me in May and I’ll tell you how this production season turned out. No predictions until the season is over. Learned that lesson over time years ago.
Mapletree Farm is noted for quality Maple products. The flavor of maple is changing due to labor shortages and technology. That is sad for me as I taste every batch of syrup I process. My syrup smells fresh and clean—not like the packer’s syrup at the supermarkets.
So recent rumors have surfaced that I am hanging up the scoop. Sorry to those who anticipated my demise. I’ll be out there boiling in March. For those of you who need syrup before the next boil, we do have a little left from the 2021 season. Not all sizes are available, but most are.
Our Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple continues to pass the test of time. Customers and fellow sugar makers will attest to that. As you know we do age our BBAM for six months or more in freshly emptied oak barrels direct from the Bourbon Distiller, Wiggly Bridge Distillery in York, Maine. Some processors are now making what they call Bourbon Flavored Maple Syrup by removing the metal hoops from the barrels, grinding up the oak staves, putting the grindings with maple syrup and bourbon in a vat overnight or for a short duration, filtering and making a flavored maple syrup. It tastes more like alcohol than genuine aged Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple. I have sampled some of the numerous offerings and they do not taste like ours! Time ages.
Come see us for lead + chemical free, quality maple products. COVID or NO the Sap will flow.
I’ll be out gathering sap or making maple syrup in the sugarhouse!
Thanks for your loyalty,
Dean AKA to some as the old man of MTF whom time is catching up with.